The new scheme, which comes into effect in November, will cover up to 60 percent of system costs, up to a maximum of SEK 50,000 (US$5,600).
Under terms of the scheme, financing can go towards the battery, wiring, control systems, smart energy hubs and installation work for houses with solar PV systems.
Andreas Gustafsson, program manager within the Research and Innovation Department of the Swedish Energy Agency, told Renewable Energy World: “The scheme represents a complementary support system to the existing scheme supporting solar PV generation in Sweden. It’s one step, but an important step towards establishing a smart, distributed grid based around clean, renewable energy.”
Motivating the scheme is Sweden’s commitment to becoming entirely free from fossil fuels in electricity generation by 2040.
“It’s expected that in supporting the installation of batteries, we’ll enable two outcomes — one to enable better use of solar PV generation systems,” Gustafsson said. “The second is to help establish smarter, more flexible grids that can contribute to stabilize the grid against fluctuations in frequency and voltage.”
He added that, “in this context, it’s important to have systems for storing energy, rather than simply pumping excess electricity into the grid, only to buy it back at a later date when you have a demand.”
Gustafsson expects that the financial assistance will be attractive to so-called prosumers, given the costs of residential storage systems.
“Of course batteries remain quite expensive,” he said. “But with newer batteries entering the market, and forecasts for future reductions in cost, this level of support, 50,000 kroner, seems reasonable.”
In turn, it’s hoped that the scheme will help encourage uptake of solar PV systems by enabling access to the broader benefits of self-generation when couple with storage systems.
Johan Lindahl, spokesperson for Swedish Solar Energy (Svensksolenergi), told Renewable Energy World: “Solar PV is a rapidly expanding market in Sweden; it’s in a good position to grow, but from a small position currently. Last year, for instance, solar PV capacity grew by 60 percent. We’re around 128 MW now.
Lindahl said that the market is almost exclusively made of prosumers — private persons or companies dealing in PV for self-consumption.
“The centralised market is very small,” Lindahl said. “In general, there is a growing interest for PV in Sweden and the general public is very positive towards the technology.”
Indeed, a survey from 2014 concluded that almost one in five Swedish homeowners were considering investing in the self-generation systems in the form of PV or a small wind turbine.
Sweden doesn’t hold specific targets for individual renewable technologies, only the ambitious goal to generate 100 percent of its electricity through renewables by 2040. Svensksolenergi, however, hopes to see the share of solar PV in the energy mix increase.
“We see solar PV contributing around 10 percent of Sweden’s electricity generation within the 100 percent renewable goal,” Lindahl said.
This target is reflected in the recently announced solar strategy of the Swedish Energy Agency that states it’s reasonable that solar electricity may provide between 7-14 TWh — an amount corresponding to between 5-10 percent of Sweden’s total electricity use — by 2040.
Sweden’s new scheme is similar to one introduced in Germany, which enjoyed great success in encouraging deployment of residential storage and was recently extended through 2018. The first round of the battery program saw some 19,000 systems installed, according to the German Economics and Energy Ministry.
Whether that success is repeated in Sweden remains to be seen. Gustafsson remarked, “Energy storage on this scale is new for Sweden. There’s very little to no home energy storage at the moment. Hopefully though, we can look forward to success here, and new companies and jobs to come along with introduction of these storage solutions.”
The scheme will operate until 31 December 2019; within this timeframe.
“We have a budget of SEK 175 million (US$19.6 million) until 2019 set aside for the home battery support; but that’s shared with another scheme,” Gustafsson said. “Precisely how much is spent on storage solutions will depend on how popular they are.”
Lindahl added, “The budget isn’t enough to provide storage systems to all solar PV systems in the country; but it’s a start. Hopefully we can build up a small market with storage systems.”
Lead image: Sonnen residential energy storage. Credit Sonnen.